Visiting Fayette County taverns on the National Road
Share with others:
As its name indicates, the new Fort Necessity/National Road Education and Interpretive Center at Fort Necessity National Battlefield tells two stories, and provides a good excuse for a daylong (or more) road trip.
The Mount Washington Tavern is one of about 30 still standing on Pennsylvania's 90-mile stretch of the National Road, which runs from Baltimore to Alton, Ill. Today some of these buildings are vacant and sadly derelict, but two within a few miles of Mount Washington Tavern provide an experience reminiscent of traveling on the National Road.
The former Hopwood-Miller Tavern in Hopwood, which has the highest concentration of historic stone buildings on the National Road, houses Chez Gerard (www.chezgerard.net) in a 1790s building that is as authentic as the food. Chef William Severac and his wife, Muriel, took over the tavern in 1999, and their savory, aromatic food makes you almost wish the French had won the war.
"You don't find buildings like this every day," he said in the dining room. "It's so rare, a lot of history about it, which is very nice."
One of its more recent owners was Bess Scott, a member of a weekly painting group that also included Kentuck Knob co-owner Bernardine Hagan in the 1950s. More than a dozen watercolors depicting the grounds and interiors of the tavern (it was then a residence) are on loan and will hang on the walls of Chez Gerard for another month.
In Farmington, The Stone House Restaurant and Country Inn (www.stonehouseinn.com) occupies a building that also has served as both a private home and a tavern. According to a 1912 county history, it was built in 1812 as the residence of Andrew Stewart, but two years later opened as a tavern. In the 1870s it became the Fayette Springs Hotel and was converted to a summer home in 1909 by George Titlow, who owned several hotels in the region. Titlow put on a large addition and the wraparound porch. After his death in 1940, it became a series of restaurants, and since 1996 has been a joint venture of chef Carl Fazio and businessman Fred Ziegler. The current executive chef is Farmington native Paul Haines; the menu is predominantly Italian, and most of the dining rooms are paneled in warm woods. There are 13 bed and breakfast rooms in the inn and a new wing.
First Published June 28, 2006 12:00 am